President Paul Biya, who has been in power since 1982, is sub-Saharan Africa's second-oldest ruler, after Robert Mugabeof Zimbabwe.
自1982年执政以来，总统Paul Biya是撒哈拉以南非洲第二年长的统治者，仅次于津巴布韦领导Robert Mugabe。
Yet despite his age, he has mastered social media, in the sense of figuring out how to silence digital dissent.
After young Arabs used smartphones to organise the uprisings of the Arab Spring, despots everywhere grew nervous.
But then they found the off-switch.
Last year 11 African governments, including Zimbabwe and the inaptly named Democratic Republic of Congo, interfered with the internet during elections or protests.
The government cut off the internet to a part of the country known for its technology start-ups, which probably hasn't done much for economic growth.
Before the crackdown internet usage in Cameroon had been soaring, with penetration rising to 18% in 2016, from 4.3% in 2010.
Phones are also ubiquitous, which may be why the communications ministry has been sending text messages, sometimes several times a day, warning of prison sentences of up to 20 years for anyone “found guilty of slander or propagating false declarations on social media”.
Journalists have been arrested and a popular radio station has been taken off the air.
Although the conflict in Cameroon has mainly affected the English-speaking minority, the government's heavy-handedness suggests that worse may lie ahead.
Next year the country's 84-year-old leader is expected to run for a seventh term.
With no clear successor or challenger in sight, Mr Biya probably has no need to ratchet up repression.
But meddling with the internet can be addictive, like the internet itself.
1.in power 执政的；掌权的
例句:The party has been in power since independence in 1964.
2.ratchet up 逐渐升高
例句:He fears inflation will ratchet up as the year ends.
3.in sight 眼前的；在即的
例句:There was no garage in sight, so I hitched a lift into town.
4.cut off 切断；中断
例句:They were almost completely cut off from the outside world.